Hubble space telescope observations of the Wolf-Rayet nebula NGC 6888

Brian D. Moore, J. Jeff Hester, Paul Scowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We present Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 images of a portion of the bright northeast rim of NGC 6888, the nebular shell physically associated with the Wolf-Rayet star HD 192163. The exposures are taken in the light of Hα λ6563, [O III] λ5007, and [S II] λλ16717, 6731. The images are used to constrain models of the ionization structure of nebular features. From these models, we infer physical conditions within features and estimate elemental abundances within the nebula. The results of our analysis, together with the degree of small-scale inhomogeneity apparent in the images, call into question the assumptions underlying traditional methodologies for interpretation of nebular spectroscopy. The thermal pressure of photoionized clumps is higher than the inferred internal pressure of the shocked stellar wind, implying that the current physical conditions have changed significantly over less than a few thousand years. These results are discussed within the context of published three-wind evolutionary scenarios for the formation of the nebula. We also discuss the nature of a back-illuminated radiative shock driven into the cavity surrounding NGC 6888.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2991-3002
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • H II regions
  • ISM: individual (NGC 6888)
  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • Stars: individual (HD 192163)
  • Stars: mass loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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